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The Pit and the Pendulum (+ Digital Copy)

3.9 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Under the direction of Torquemada (Golden Globe® nominee Lance Henriksen) the Grand Inquisitor of Spain, a young baker's wife, Maria, is falsely accused of witchcraft and dragged before the Inquisition. Torquemada is enchanted by Maria's beauty and subjects her and her husband Antonio to heinous torture hoping to prove that his own desires are a result of her bewitching powers. With the help of Esmerelda, Maria's cellmate and a confessed witch, Maria must save her husband Antonio from Torquemada's ultimate machine of torture—the razor sharp pendulum poised over the inescapable pit of hell.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Lance Henriksen, Stephen Lee, William J. Norris, Mark Margolis
  • Directors: Stuart Gordon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Digital_copy
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 2, 2011
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0055SJY2W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,854 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Loose, yet violent and bloody rendering of Edgar Allan Poe's classic is actually well made and better than I expected.
Lance Henriksen is Grand Inquisitor Torquemada who tortures and kills in the name of religion. A young, innocent couple runs afoul of his evil doings and must then struggle to free themselves from his torture chamber before they, too, are put to death.
The late Oliver Reed, who I still remember from Hammer's "Curse of the Werewolf", has a brief walk on as the Cardinal. A good change of pace for Gordon, whose previous efforts include "Re-Animator", "From Beyond", and "Castle Freak". Aside from Henriksen's usual strong delivery, Rona De Ricci and Jeffrey Combs are two other standouts worth mentioning. By far one of the best releases Full Moon has put out. You shouldn't be disappointed.
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OK, sorry, I couldn't resist. Though this is a pretty grim movie at times, I can't hear the phrase "Spanish Inquisition" without going through the Monty Python routine. Once the movie starts, however, I am always so engrossed I forget about the sketch.
This movie had me hooked from the first scene the first time I saw it, but it has that rare quality of actually getting better with every viewing. As many have said, this is without a doubt Full Moon's all-time best. I'm a diehard Stuart Gordon fan, and if it wasn't for Re-Animator, I might say it was Gordon's best, too. By the way, the first scene is very grisly and cold-blooded, and you *know* it's gonna be a great movie when that happens even before the opening credits.
I really wish that this movie got more of a chance for wide release. I remember it being in the theater for maybe one week and then going to video, and the only reason I even knew it existed was from reading Fangoria. Look at the cast- while they aren't all considered "A-list", they are favs among horror and cult fans- Lance Henriksen (Millennium, Aliens) Tom Towles (Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer), Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, From Beyond), Frances Bay (Blue Velvet), Oliver Reed... I think the other strike it has against it is that people see the title (maybe that's why it was changed in some versions, including the R-rated DVD that I rented, to The Inquisitor) and figure it's a travesty to even try to remake.
Don't get me wrong, the original is wonderful, and Vincent Price is, well, Vincent Price and in a class by himself.
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Echo Bridge strikes us down again with another quality (lol) release. The Movie itself is fine, I enjoy it but the DVD is sub-par with hints of artifacts and blurring. Incidentally, Blu-ray users got the shortest of the stick with a non-original 1.85:1 picture that's missing 20-30% of the picture from the top and bottom compared to the DVD 4:3 version. The Blu-ray version also has a sub-par picture no better than an upscaled DVD.

The problem is Echo Bridge, formerly Platinum Disc; they care more about quantity than quality in their new strategy. The encodes they do are low bit-rate under a Constant Quality setting instead of Variable and tests show it on all their disks. They also use only single layered disks and try their best to pack other movies etc. all on that single layer. We are left with garbage.

Since this is such a nice movie, it's unfortunate how it was butchered; for all of us. It's harsh, but the movie loving public would be better off if this company simply went away.
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This film was originally a mid-budget project set to star Peter O'Toole and some other bigger name actors (who's names escape me now). That deal collapsed and the movie almost didn't get made. Director Stuart Gordon (ReAnimator, From Beyond, Castle Freak) was fortunately able to keep the project alive, although with a low budget and differnt cast (The only actor remaining from the original cast is Jeffrey Combs).
I saw this film several times upon it's release in 1991, and loved it. I always remembered it and wanted to buy a copy on video, but it was out of print for many years. It did appear on DVD a few years ago but it was only available as part of the Stuart Gordon box set and could not be found as an individual release. Now, finally, somebody has put it out on DVD. It's widescreen and the picture quality isn't bad. I wish they'd have used the original cover art, though. It was a cool poster. I can't figure out why a lot of companies don't use the original movie artwork on the dvd release. But that's a small complaint. The film itself is just as good as I remember. It has stood the test of time and doesn't feel dated at all. In fact I think I appreciate it more now than back in the day.
The movie takes place in Spain during the Inquisition and tells the story of the Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada, superbly portrayed by Lance Henriksen in one of his most intense performances. He and his cohorts spend their days torturing heretics, blasphemers, and witches; to death most of the time. Until he comes into possession of a beautiful young baker's wife, who happens to be pious, pure, a true christian (as opposed to the monsters of the Inquisition). He falls in love with her, but cannot deal with these feelings. Chaos and upheaval ensue.
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